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Exclusive: Snapdeal’s Chandrasekaran backs food-tech startup InnerChef

Anand Chandrasekaran

Anand Chandrasekaran

Anand Chandrasekaran, Snapdeal’s chief product officer, has made an undisclosed angel investment in food-tech startup InnerChef, sources said.

InnerChef Pvt Ltd, the ready-to-cook meals delivery venture floated by GSF Accelerator’s Rajesh Sawhney, will use the money raised to expand its footprint and launch new kitchens across Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai.

Sawhney confirmed the development without divulging specific details.

Launched in April, InnerChef delivers on-demand meal boxes to its customers. The Gurgaon-based company’s model, an Indian adaptation of the US-based Blue Apron, is to deliver pre-cooked/sliced food with all necessary ingredients and the recipe, packed in a kit. The customer has to do the final preparation of the meal.

The company recently inducted iProf Learning Solutions’ CTO Sanjeev Singhal as its new co-founder and CTO. In September, InnerChef raised Rs 11 crore ($1.6 million) in pre-Series A funding from Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Redbus co-founder Phanindra Sama, Shaadi.com’s Anupam Mittal and other tech investors.

Chandraskeran had joined Snapdeal (run by Jasper Infotech Pvt Ltd) in June after a 11-month stint with Bharti Airtel as chief product officer. As an angel investor, Chandrasekaran has put money in Los Angeles-based audio accessories company Audeze, hyperlocal medicine and healthcare products delivery startup Pluss, freight platform FreightTiger and HD-live streaming platform Instalively.

Startups in the Indian food-tech space either offer an ordering/delivery platform from restaurants (Foodpanda, TinyOwl, Zomato, Boibanit and others) or run their own kitchens/cafes (Box8, Dropkaffe, Frsh.com and others).

Companies such as MealHopper, Bite Club, Yumist and SpoonJoy connect consumers to independent chefs or offer food ordering from in-house kitchens. Ventures such as InnerChef and iChef offer a platform for ready-to-cook products.

The online food ordering business in India is estimated to be worth Rs 5,000-6,000 crore, growing at about 30 per cent month-on-month, according to a report by India Brand Equity Foundation. However, this segment is transaction-driven and margins are wafer thin.

It has been a year of mixed fortunes for the food-tech startups. A few startups have shut shop or have downsized operations.

According to some estimates, about half of the food-tech firms operating in India started in the past year. As per VCCEdge, 19 food-tech startups have raised about $160 million in venture capital funding so far in 2015. Only five companies managed to raise money twice.

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